Late last week, The Guardian published a major story based on extensive leaks from the latest meeting of ALEC, the extremist right-wing policy group famous for its role in passing so-called "stand your ground" laws going after all kinds of public regulations.
The corporate powers-that-be make their goals plain: push the power of the extreme right wing by going after landmark minimum wage increases like Seattle's with lawsuits, state legislation, and misleading stories. The International Franchise Association, which has sued to overturn Seattle's minimum wage law on the grounds that it's unfair to McDonald's, makes an appearance, as does the American Hotel and Lodging Association, which supports their lawsuit.
Here's the most revealing part of the story:
Sean Heyl, a lobbyist with the International Franchise Association – which represents 1,400 franchises, including some of America’s biggest such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway – said his organization had filed a legal challenge to Seattle’s hike.
Heyl presented the battle as a partisan political struggle pitting unions against employers: “I’m a Republican. We’re seeing the unions looking at the cities as their next target – we beat them on the federal level, we beat them on the state level. But the cities are much tougher, because there are more of them.”
Brian Crawford, a senior executive at the American Hotel and Lodging Association, told participants that his group was preparing litigation in Los Angeles and other cities to block wage increases. “Hopefully there’s no press in here,” he said.
Crawford also urged conservatives to launch populist campaigns against wage increases by adopting the mantra that higher pay hurts ordinary Americans. It was crucial, he said at the meeting, to have “the right face, and that’s one of the things we’re focusing on… Not the Hyatts, not the Hiltons, not the Marriotts, but the small business people, telling their story about the American Dream – the independently owned Holiday Inn, owned by an Asian-American who came to this country, put all their life-savings into it, and now they’re going to lose this business because they can’t afford a $15 wage.”
Of course, last time the IFA tried to stick a pretty face on their pro-McPoverty approach, we caught them using an ad composed entirely of stock video footage.
We'll see what they come up with when their lawsuit is heard in court on March 10th.